Sunday, February 9, 2014

Critique of Inmendham's Radical Pessimism

Here's my newest YouTube video, Critique of Inmendham's Radical Pessimism. It raises different objections to antinatalism from those you'll find in my article on the subject. This video was supposed to be up a few days ago, but I had to perform Herculean labours to overcome the software obstacles that were thrown in my way. I shan't bore you with the details of that saga. Needless to say, I performed those labours because I'm proud of this videoit's 57 minutes too!and I wanted someone other than me to see it. 



My main source of info on Inmendham's extreme pessimism is a two-part YouTube dialogue between him and someone I call "the psychologist," because I couldn't remember his name. This other person is Corey Anton and he's more of a philosopher than a psychologist. He works in communication theory, semiotics, and phenomenology, among some other areas.

Also, I define "antinatalism" (AN) early on in the video. Strictly speaking, AN is just the view that we shouldn't have children, because doing so is immoral, given that the suffering which is produced outweighs the pleasure. The essence of AN, though, is extreme pessimism on all fronts and this pessimism has some other implications. For example, it should be just as immoral to allow all of the other animal species to go on reproducing, since they suffer too. So as long as we could find some way to kill all life relatively painlessly, that immoral act would produce the superior good of ending all of the future suffering that would have otherwise happened. Thus, AN is really about the purposeful termination of all life, as I see it. That's what's at stake when we contemplate this most extreme kind of pessimism.

Lastly, at around the 32 minute mark the video got divided into two parts and I lost a half a second of audio. The full sentence that gets partially cut out there is "No one knows whether there's more pain than pleasure."

I've also added a way to register with this blog so you'll get emails alerting you to new posts. I've tested it out and it works. You get the email sometime on the day there's a new post, but not as soon as the post is up. The registration box is located just below the Facebook icons on the right and above Recent Comments.

Update: Inmendham has responded to my critique with a four-part video beginning with this one:

 

Oh, and here are the notes of mine that I drew from in preparing for this video discussion, which were too long to add below the video on YouTube:

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Inmendham’s Argument for Antinatalism:

Intelligence vs nature:

Intelligence informs us of the truth, thanks to science and philosophy, but reason comes with emotion and motive (thus Inmendham gets angry and doesn’t present mere logical arguments or calculations)

Nature includes our primitive psychology and religious dogmas which are parts of the evolutionary game we’re in, the game being genetic programming, natural selection, and the meaninglessness and horror of biological processes

The Game:
(metaphors = chess, maze, lottery, tic tac toe, gladiator): the inefficient, wasteful, murderous conditions of natural life are odious, because there’s no victory or end of the game that justifies all of the sacrifice and suffering; the game is Life itself, as it reduces to consumption, reproduction, and cannibalism; we’re expendable pawns, sacrificing ourselves for the next generation, from the genes’ point of view; we’re machines, not free people, therefore little chance of stopping the game, since our force is outmatched and we’re programmed to like consumption and reproduction and competition

Intelligence vs the game: we’re too good for the game, because we’ve figured it out and it’s fit only for animals, but we’re stuck in it because of our animal nature; still, it’s better to rant against it, from a rational viewpoint, than to rationalize the game with happy-talk

The Equation: suffering is inherently bad and it outweighs pleasure; sentience is the only value in the universe (humanism contra nihilism) and it’s equally valuable in all creatures (thus vegetarianism and more horror than we can handle), but we’re stuck in a horrifying place and forced to play degrading roles in the Game; for every victor, hundreds suffer and lose and then the game starts all over with reproduction

Antinatalist Conclusion: the price paid for life to continue is objectively too high; rationally—based on utilitarianism—we should cease playing the Game, because life is morally unjustifiable (the pain we inevitably cause outweighs all the pleasure): stop reproducing and even prevent the dummies from doing so since they play God by throwing another sentient being into the jaws of nature; (metaphor: if we had the Start button, to create Earth and all biological life on it, knowing the horrors that that would cause, would we press it?); utopian/heavenly alternative (with no suffering) reduces us to even less dignified consumption-machines (infantilism) and makes life meaningless; moreover, this alternative couldn’t likely be brought into being, because we’re overpowered by monstrous natural forces; no grace or dignity in making the best out of the game, since that just apologizes for the horror

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Ben Cain’s Response:

Evolutionary, Machiavellian vs Humanitarian, Modern Intelligence (philosophical/truth-oriented for its own sake, not pragmatic or egoistic): Inmendham assumes the latter, but that already shows that rebellion is possible and that rebellion is best explained by positing limited freedom/self-control

I agree that nature is mostly a horror, as is life, but the Game metaphor is flawed, since games are artifacts with prescriptive rules; given atheism, natural laws aren’t like social or conventional ones; this is also the problem with the Button thought experiment since the planet then would be an artifact, but it’s not one

Inmendham’s Consequentialism: he assumes the value of life depends on the result: since no good result, but just an endless cycle, therefore no justification of life; but no one knows how life will end; people have kids because they hope that natural processes are progressive (ex. transhuman singularity); Inmendham says that since no evidence of extraterrestrial life, we’ll probably fade out too, but this is dubious; maybe the aliens outgrew their technology or live in virtual worlds; so this assumption about the ultimate end of life isn’t rational; it’s just a speculation

Contra the Game: we’ve been playing a different game since we became self-aware; this is the game of culture, which speaks to our being more free than the other animals; we’re people rather than just animals, not just because we’re informed, thanks to science and philosophy, but because we can resist natural forces and do something relatively unnatural and anomalous, namely start a new game that’s regulated by prescriptive laws rather than natural ones; thus, we create cultures and the technosphere, precisely to escape from the horrors of wild nature: we’re civilized, not wild, although we often fail to live up to our potential, given our intelligence and self-control/autonomy

Inmendham’s Equation: when quantified, mental states are objectified and they lose their value; thus, the quantity of pains is irrelevant to their badness; also, suffering isn’t inherently bad, since some is deserved or it’s a means to an end, and suffering makes life meaningful, since otherwise we’d have the meaningless heaven/utopia; moreover, again the weighing of pleasure against pain is more speculation than calculation; no algorithm to arrive at the ratio; slippery slope from valuing sentient beings and their pleasures to valuing degrees of rebellion against horrible nature; thus, false dichotomy between participating in the game and ending the game by ending ourselves (AN), the third option being playing a new game

Contra Antinatalism (AN): I recommend a third option, one which differs from (1) playing the Game as sociopaths or as deluded enablers who can’t face the horror, and from (2) ending all life: the third option is to transcend the animalistic game, and that’s precisely what humans have been doing, bit by bit, for thousands of years; we’ve civilized ourselves, learned the truth, and decided not to live as animals; we’ve built houses and cities and nations, often regressing to insane and destructive animal behaviour, but nevertheless laying the foundations for more and more artificiality which transcends biology; moreover, religions have had ascetic movements, again for thousands of years, and ascetics have declined to play the Game without losing all respect for life (granted, ascetics would be pessimistic about nature, but Buddhists, for example, find bliss in contemplating the underlying unity of causes and effects, so that’s a third option which differs from AN’s ultra-pessimism); we follow social laws and moral codes, not just genetic programming; we do philosophy, because we’re free to care about the truth which is either irrelevant to our role in the evolutionary game or is even counterproductive to it (and is thus baffling without some freewill or autonomy from the game board)

Inmendham sees this when he gives credit to intelligence, since AN requires the utilitarian enlightenment, that is, knowledge of The Game and The Equation; but this puts him on a slippery slope to acknowledging the possibility of the Third Option, which is personhood, culture, mentality, artificiality, the technosphere, etc, which do make us godlike (if not necessarily wise enough to make all the suffering worthwhile in the end) 

29 comments:

  1. I disagree with both you and Inmendham, when it comes to the possibility for some better world or society. When you say "we" can choose not to play the game, but can play our own game, I think you are giving the average person far too much credit. The other day at a coffee shop I ran across a copy of Alvin Toflers Third Wave, it was amazing how many things he got right in 1980 about our current technology in regards to it's impact on socializing. What we are doing right here, is pretty amazing, people who only a few decades ago would have been very lonely, due to their philosophy/outlook etc. are able to create an online community. So while this has been an improvement in some ways, it has caused entirely new problems. I guess what I'm getting at, is that a large part of the meaning we get from our existence here comes from the fixing of problems. Each problem we "fix" creates a new set of problems for us to fix later and so on, to me this seems like an endless loop. This is the main point I agree with Inmendham on, we are really just cleaning up messes that we, and nature make over and over. Here's a book I would highly recommend to you.

    http://www.amazon.com/HOMO-99-100%25-NONSAPIENS-Introduction/dp/0988553635/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391974570&sr=1-1&keywords=gerald+lorentz

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    1. Hmm, you threw me for a loop there, Anon. I thought you were going to say that most people aren't up to improving society, which is why it's problematic to speak of "we." I've taken this Straussian line often on my blog, distinguishing between esoteric and exoteric knowledge, positing the infantilization of the masses and so on. So I'm no slouch when it comes to pessimism. ;)

      I agree that new technology often creates new problems even as it solves old ones. This is sort of Jacques Ellul's point. But I doubt this entails that all of culture is just a big mess with no progress at all in the sense of transcendence as opposed to linear and inexorable social improvement.

      That books looks interesting, but I think I'd disagree with its kind of elitism. The author seems to think that those who become leaders tend to be the most intelligent, so that we have a meritocracy. (I'm basing that simply on the Amazon reviews, so this could be inaccurate.) If that's what the author thinks, I'd disagree. I think those who rise to the top tend to be sociopathic and thus intelligent mainly in manipulating people, but emotionally dead, dreadfully egoistic, and aesthetically boring. They'll be the typical Machiavellian folks scheming for advantages in exploiting and controlling other people. But what's their big picture? What are their true ideals? Will to power? Me me me consumerism and hedonism? Boring and animalistic! I'm interested in behaviour that distinguishes our species by making us more anomalous and unnatural (virtually supernatural), not more brutish and predictably aggressive and selfish. No, I'm inspired by spiritual elites, not by the power elites, and as everyone knows, nice guys finish last.

      Still, I'm always up for some misanthropy!

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    2. I would say the author is aligned with you on most issues, except he is not hopeful for a better world. Not sure how you came to the conclusion you did, it's pretty backward from the authors view. This is one of the first things on the page, it gives a pretty good idea of what it's about. "A revised edition of the 1985 underground work by Gerald B. Lorentz (October 1915 - April 2007) featuring a new introduction and afterword. One of his last public announcements was about this reissue of his life's work. “History clearly proves that man is a plunderer, a killer, and a hypocrite.He cannot face the reality of his own despicable nature. Even when he kills he fancies that he performs a service to God or country. Capitalism satisfies all the predatory instincts natural to man in the economic purlieu; that is, satisfies his need to plunder, prey, defend; and to mask his predations with euphemisms and hypocorisms... Predation is normal and natural for the human species. Capitalists, actors, athletes, and rock musicians do not think of themselves as plunderers of the fruits of the labors of working people, nor do union workers think of themselves as plundering from nonunion workers. Plundering has always been perfectly natural and ethical for the human animal, only the rules governing predation change.” This new edition is published jointly by APOP Records and Underworld Amusements.

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    3. Yeah, I read that quotation and it promises a fine intellectual rant, which is just about my favourite sort of nonfiction these days. I believe I really will check out that book. Hopefully, a blog article or a video will come out of it.

      As for the stuff on elitism, I was paraphrasing one of the Amazon reviews. Anyway, there's no need to agree with an author on everything. I love reading Lewis Mumford but I don't agree with him on everything. For that matter, Inmendham's analogies are thought-provoking but I don't agree with AN.

      So thanks for the recommendation. I hadn't heard of that oddly-titled book before, but it seems right up my alley. Maybe Inmendham has mined it for material for his videos.

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    4. I discovered Gary's (Inmendham) videos a little over a year ago, and I could not believe how much he reminded me of Shopenhauer. His philosophy, grumpy nature, wild hair etc. I came to realize that Gary had actually read very little classic philosophy, I think people recommended Shopenhauer to him, and eventually read some of his work, and Nietzsche. Gary is what I've come to call a "natural philosopher." He became philosophical at a young age, due to experience, psychological makeup etc. I tend to think his world view is VERY similar to H.P. Lovecraft, who also had issues with anxiety/illness starting at a young age.

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    5. Yeah, I see your distinction between academic training in philosophy and having a natural skepticism and interest in getting to the bottom of issues. What I'm most impressed with is his ability in dialogues to call to mind very quickly the relevant parts of his worldview when challenged, to see problems in his terms and to figure out the relevant implications of his ideas. Doing this at your leisure when writing is one thing, but doing it when you're on the spot in videos or when you're debating someone is something else. Then again, he's made hundreds of videos, so I suppose he can rattle off his ideas now as a matter of routine.

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  2. I think antinatalism isn't pessimistic enough, for it is based on the optimistic assumtion that there is a way out of all the suffering. The naive metaphor with the "Start button" shows this very clearly. As you said in your video, if all live ends at one time it will most likely continue. Meaning more suffering despite the antinatalistic "solution".
    I agree with you that the only thing we can do is to rebel against the horror in the world/universe by making art and living a life worth living.

    Btw: I really like your videos. They make your philosophy very accessible and relatively easy to understand.

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    1. Antinatalism doesn't say that the goal of not having children is to extinguish all life as a way out of all suffering. It is the position that it is immoral to bring new life into this world knowing what we know about its horrors. Making art and living an enjoyable life is in no way a rebellion against the horror of the world.

      As for the Cain's philosophy, all he is doing is going along with programming all organisms have to maximize the pleasure and minimize the pain in their lives. He has even ensured that he will be able to preserve his self-esteem and satisfy his ego needs by relabeling the process seeking out the pleasurable experiences you enjoy in your particular instance (making art, reading philosophy, ect...) as "rebellion." It is feel-good apologetics for omega males.

      The crux of the antinatalist argument is that is immoral to throw new lives into the quagmire of existing in this world. Not conceiving a child is not the same as taking a life. If your philosophy is that the world is a box of horrors but that it is still moral to bring children into this world against their will so they can bear witness to it and, if lucky, try to rebel against it, then your philosophy is purely egoistic.

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    2. "It is the position that it is immoral to bring new life into this world knowing what we know about its horrors."

      And why would that be immoral? Because it creates suffering. That's all that this is about. So you want to avoid suffering. But as I've said, you can't make a world without. There will always be pain, horror and violence in the world. Antinatalism doesn't change anything.

      "...it is still moral to bring children into this world against their will..."

      Against their will? How do you know what is against the will of an unborn being? This is nothing but really naive speculation.

      The thing is this. You can cowardly flee from the terrible world and stop having babies OR you can stop being such a sissy and try to make the world a little bit better place. Help people, stop at least some of the suffering and yeah, create art. Tell me, which of these ways is more egoistic?

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    3. Anon, I agree that AN is strictly just the view that reproduction is bad. I meant to add an annotation to that effect on the video, but YouTube seems to have shut down its annotation capability for the moment.

      Anyway, I believe we've talked about your objections regarding self-esteem, transcendence, etc in the YouTube thread for my video.

      As for the main idea that it's wrong to throw innocent lives into the quagmire of nature, couldn't we look at it differently, by thinking of the next generation as a fresh army with which to fight back against nature's monstrosity? As I say in the video, if you grant the goodness of morality or of pleasure/happiness, you should be open to the possibility of more and more goodness in the world. It's like the camel that gets its nose under the tent; sooner or later, you're going to see the whole camel under the tent (or however that analogy goes).

      I don't see how the egoism charge follows from your premises. Also, it's not quite right to say that parents bring children into the world "against their will," since children don't yet have a will. When they're infants, they're still largely unformed. In particular, their brains aren't yet up to full speed and they're only protohuman until they can speak and think for themselves. Of course, a zygote has no will and there's no pre-existing supernatural spirit. So that kind of immorality (coercion) is irrelevant.

      Anyway, I don't see selfishness as being central to my philosophy. I talk about the aesthetic value of tragic rebellion against natural creations, in so far as we ironically use our natural powers of creativity to partially replace nature with less horrific, artificial worlds that are at our disposal. Whereas Nietzsche would say we should do this purely for our glory as power-seeking animals, I'm more interested in ascetic self-sacrifice for the sake of producing great art. So I honestly just don't think your egoism charge sticks in this case.

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    4. Dietl, thanks for the defense but let's try to keep this civil. I grant you, though, if there's ever a topic that ought to get our temper up, it's this whole issue of whether life is worth living at all.

      I'm glad you're getting something out of my videos. I agree that explanations often wind up being clearer when you're forced to give them in a conversational style, which is what happens when you've got a camcorder in front of you. I've got plans to make lots more of these videos. They're fun and challenging.

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  3. Your demeanor is decidedly unranty, ironically. Good on you. Something about Benjamin Cain in here:

    http://devinlenda.blogspot.jp/2014/02/reason-as-accursed.html

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    1. Thanks! My blog title's reference to "rants" is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. At most, they're philosophical rants, and some of my articles are angrier than others. But I'm not really an angry person, so I suppose that comes out in my videos.

      Are all narratives selfish? You say art needn't be selfish, because art needn't involve truth claims. What if we see all narratives and indeed all natural processes as having an artistic or aesthetic aspect, since they're creations of natural forces? Scientific models, too, have aesthetic and pragmatic sides to them. Still, there is such a thing as objective truth. But as I say in Life as Art (and in another article that will come out on my blog this week or next), objectivity has a lot in common with the aesthetic perspective.

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  4. Your arguments against anti-natailsm are better than most, but I still don't find them convincing. I believe they make much better anti-suicide arguments, in that context I agree with them. I do think it's better to rebel against life than to kill ones self, but still don't see a truly good reason to create a new life to do the same.

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    1. Well, there are lots of factors that determine whether someone wants to have a child. If we're talking strictly about the moral value of procreation, I think that once we see the value of existential rebellion, we can appreciate having more people on our team, to make the rebellion stronger. It's like adding members to the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars, to take on the undead Empire.

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    2. But we wil never win! We will never win. Besides, why thrust the fight on them? Don't think of the unborn as a mass of astral bodies in gray space. Think of each individual dealing with their senseless life. Every person not born is a VICTORY against the tyranny of DNA. SOmetimes I hate my own flesh for its presumptuousness, for setting such an arbitrary, asinine and arduous agenda. I'm an african and I'm alwats arguing on the pro-modern side, despite our 'extended contact' with euros. Promoting gay tolerance, english education, freethinking etc. I'm just like why does it have to be me? And I feel the same way, looking at the history of existential angst, and having to be born in order to be an antinatalist. Quoting Schopenhauer or King Solomon is merely for elegance, my own observations are as on point. So why do I have to re-heat watertight arguments? ome one ppl, Write Once Read Many, and leave the earth silent after ye.

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    3. Is not having children a victory against nature? It's hard to see how there could be a victory if there's no one left to celebrate it.

      I'm not sure how well antinatalism sits with the modern liberal agenda. If you don't believe in some agenda, I suppose you shouldn't fight for it. I'm trying to convince people to believe in something they think is sacred and to fight for that. You can have kids and bring them up to share those values.

      Human transcendence is already a victory against natural selection, since the genes treat their hosts as slaves, whereas we've woken up and we prefer to do our own thing. This is the flaw of Inmendham's antinatalism: he denies that we've already transcended nature, due to our personhood, even as he vacillates on that point.

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    4. this was a pretty damn good sentence: "he denies we've already transcended nature." I would assume the reply would go something like: even if you do believe you are making a choice you are not really and are just experiencing the illusion of choice whilst enduring psychological enslavement.

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    5. That might be his response, but my case against Inmendham's naturalism is that it's incoherent. You can't claim to be a determinist and a radical reductionist and then also claim the moral high ground. So while eating meat, for example, might cause immense suffering, there would be absolutely wrong with that, given just Inmendham's determinism and naturalism. To get wrongness, you need the existence of value in the world, not just, as David Hume said (more or less), the sheer physical facticity of pleasure and pain. And when you have value, you have transcendence of nature, that is, the emergence of properties such as all those that constitute the artificial (human-made) domain (called, roughly, culture) which testifies to our personhood as opposed to our animality.

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  5. I talk about the aesthetic value of tragic rebellion against natural creations, in so far as we ironically use our natural powers of creativity to partially replace nature with less horrific, artificial worlds that are at our disposal.

    Given that we are still, ultimately, "part of nature" even if an oddly and uniquely aware and self conscious part, is this possible? Is there such a thing as a human environment that is not part of nature? I stuggle with this.

    I also challenge you to find very many examples of such a superior world. it seems to me that most human artifical worlds make things worse, at least for those not at the very top. Agriculture, for example, was a new artifical food producing world. But because of hierarchy, some anthropologists I have read (no links, sorry) claim that for the vast majority of people, life was worse as a landless peasant or serf than as a tribal hunter.

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    1. I agree it's somewhat confusing because there are two distinctions to keep in mind: natural vs supernatural, and natural vs artificial. I've talked about this with Scott Bakker and he agrees that while the former, metaphysical distinction implies that everything is natural in that sense, for the philosophical naturalist, that first distinction doesn't obviate the second, emergent one. Rebellion comes in with the second distinction.

      "Natural," then, means wild, undead, inhuman, indifferent, physical, etc, and our artificial microcosms are intelligently designed, purposeful, meaningful, normative, governed by rules and conventions rather than just brute natural laws, and they're anomalous and what I've been thinking of recently as virtually supernatural. I'm going to write an article on this distinction, which compares the supernatural with the artificial. Don't worry: this doesn't make room for miracles. But there's something strange and unnatural--in the second, nonmetaphysical sense--going on with artificiality. I'm still thinking about this, though...

      I agree that artificiality isn't utopian. I've been reading Lewis Mumford's Myth of the Machine, so I appreciate how technology often makes things worse. As I think I say in this or the last video, our cultural progress is still animalistic so there's no supernatural guarantee here. I'm interested more in transcendence than in normative progress. I'm talking about the autonomy to create new worlds, not necessarily the ability to create better ones. The normative judgments would be largely subjective anyway, and for me they'd be aesthetic.

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  6. {I'm talking about the autonomy to create new worlds, not necessarily the ability to create better ones. The normative judgments would be largely subjective anyway, and for me they'd be aesthetic.}

    Ah...but then I look at the wild natural world of, say Big Sur, and compare it to the artifical world of the typical American commercial strip, and I find the aesthetic judgment not hard to make!

    LOL. I might be kidding. I am not, actually sure. Still...thought provoking stuff.

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    1. Have you read my article, Life as Art? I agree that natural creations are far more sublime than anything we design or build. Indeed, many mass entertainments infantilize us, as I recently argued on Scott Bakker's blog. So not everything we make is great, artistically speaking. Some of our creations are technically artificial but they're also extensions of our animalistic past and so they're unoriginal in that they don't individuate us as a species. Our better creations rebel against nature in specific ways, rather than just building on top of natural processes.

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  7. I think your conclusion about anti-natalism leading by extension, to the killing of people to prevent future suffering is incorrect. I am in favor of euthanasia for people who choose, I certainly would not be in favor of ending an existing life involuntarily. I was raised for the most part by a single mother, her and my father got divorced when I was about 3, she was then re-married and divorced again within a few years. She chose not to have anymore children, because life for her and myself was not off to a great start, and the probability of giving another child a quality life was low. According to your conclusion, my mother not only should have stopped having children, she should have painlessly killed me to prevent my future suffering.

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    1. First of all, these aren't my contentions since I'm not an antinatalist. But yes, you're saying that the antinatalist can appeal to freedom as her principle to distinguish not having kids from outright killing people to prevent future generations. And indeed, that principle would work, but remember that Inmendham says he's in favour of forcing antinatalism on others, because they're dumb sheep who don't deserve their freedom and who are wrecking the planet with their irresponsible choices.

      So the antinatalist's problem is that her respect for freewill may be outweighed by her hatred of suffering. She'll then have to sacrifice that principle to achieve the greater good of an end to suffering. The question, then, is whether freewill matters as much as the humongous extent of the suffering we cause.

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  8. Here is a quote directly from your YT video, text top left of screen. "As I argue on my blog, it's hard to defend this view without also implying that all living things should be killed, to prevent the future suffering they would otherwise have to endure." Inmendham is not the only anti-natalist, and hardly the first to have the idea. As you are well aware, the idea is quite old and the overwhelming majority of people with the philosophy were not in favor of killing anyone. In fact, anti-natalists have been the ones on the receiving end of that historically, most notably the Cathars being slaughtered by the Catholics.

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    1. Sorry, I meant this as a reply to you last comment.

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  9. I love gary. His vids took a while to grow on me because I am a text person, but they are awesome, he is so cogent! Life is a waste of time, energy, organic matter, and finer feelings. I like to think of DNA as a colonialist, and matter as preliterate ethnic tribes. The main differnece is that DNA, while made of matter, 'stores information' and elemental dust can't do that. Just like the natives, it lives in the eternal present, reactively, whereas the conquistadors can select a range of responses from their cultural heritage, or splice that heritage to create something new etc. So over billions of years, DNA adds up in complexity and control protocols, while matter knows but of the day, and is totally passive and helpless to be shanghaied into something what doesn't benefit it. The strange thing is it doen't benefit DNA, as DNA keeps its material mechanicity like the rest of the universe. This doesn't change the power relationship, it just means that out of the matter that enabled dna that enabled consciousness, the last, most removed (I think you once described it as somewhat ghostly) and abstracted one of these is all that actually...matters. Speaking of matter, isn't matter the matter with life? Maybe I have been imagining things but I think the quality of antinatalist discussion is improving on the net. I want to take the conversation to the next level: How do we gracefully retire the Last Generation, and how do we ensure life is sterilised, earth is inhospitablilised (after a fashion), and sentience never evolves? Plants and bacteria are just sustained chemistry experiments, but they aaaalways have that surplus to motivate competition and complexity in their predators. We have to zoom out and roll up our sleeves, even tho its more likely we'll just stay invested in a paradoxic paradigm, and one not of our choosing.

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    1. I like the creativity Inmendham displays in his bullying, but there's much that I don't like about his videos, as I explained in my debate with him. I don't think he spends much time trying to understand the criticisms that have been leveled against him. He's far too sure of himself, considering the radicalism of his philosophy.

      By the way, I note that what you say at the end here supports my slippery slope argument against antinatalism, since you put the point in terms of a need not just to end our species, but to end all life and to prevent the re-emergence of sentience. Sorry, but I could very easily imagine a comic book villain professing that same wish. That sort of antinatalism is consistent with evil megalomania. I'm not saying so-called antinatalists are evil, but I am saying they should be very cautious rather than arrogant, like Inmendham, since their conclusions are so radical.

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